Why SEND teachers should be using Engagement Profiles

What is an engagement profile, why should SEND teachers be using them, and where can you get free training on them? Find out here.

Why look at engagement?

The Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project tells us that:

Engagement is the single best predictor of successful learning for children with learning disabilities (Iovannone et al., 2003). Without engagement, there is no deep learning (Hargreaves, 2006), effective teaching, meaningful outcome, real attainment or quality progress (Carpenter, 2010).

engagement profile

The Engagement Profile and Scale is a classroom tool developed through SSAT’s research into effective teaching and learning for children with complex learning difficulties and disabilities. It allows teachers to focus on the child’s engagement as a learner and create personalised learning pathways. It prompts student-centred reflection on how to increase the learner’s engagement leading to deep learning.


Engagement is multi-dimensional, and encompasses awareness, curiosity, investigation, discovery, anticipation, persistence and initiation. By focusing on these seven indicators of engagement, teachers can ask themselves questions such as: ‘How can I change the learning activity to stimulate Robert’s curiosity?’ ‘What can I change about this experience to encourage Shannon to persist?’


The adaptations made and the effect on the student’s level of engagement can be recorded, together with a score on the engagement scale. Over time, it is possible to chart the success of interventions and adjustments, and the effect this has had on the student’s levels of engagement.

Where can I get training on using an engagement profile and scale?

This website offers fantastic training materials which cover the following areas of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND):


  • Severe learning difficulties (SLD)
  • Profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD)
  • Complex learning difficulties and disabilities (CLDD)


engagement profiles screen shotThey are presented in 16 modules within four subject groups and look into topics such as communication and interaction, the context of specialist teaching, insights from neuroscience, working with families, and the legislation around SEND.


However, if you are keen to jump straight to the section on engagement, you can do that – simply select module 3.2 and work your way through the training materials. You’ll find them easy to follow, insightful and very well put together. Before you know it, you’ll be telling all your colleagues at school to do this training, too!

Are you seeking work with young people with SEND?

Register with Axcis and become connected to a range of specialist and mainstream schools in your area for work.

Register with Axcis and become connected to a range of specialist and mainstream schools in your area for work.

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a special needs teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area.


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